Originally a Baby Store in Washington
Charles Lazarus founded Toys R Us as a toy and baby products retailer in 1948. Its first store in history was in Washington, D.C. Soon he realized that he could sell toys as well, and Toys R Us was born.
By the 1960s, Toys R Us had become a national chain with stores across the United States. The company’s popularity grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with Toys R Us becoming a household name in many countries around the world.
In the 1990s, Toys R Us expanded its business further. They opened stores in Europe, Asia, and South America. At its peak, Toys R Us had over 1,500 stores in 33 countries. By then it was the world’s largest toy retailer.
The Online Assassin
However, the rise of online shopping in the 2000s had a significant impact on Toys R Us’ business. The company struggled to compete with online retailers like Amazon. In 2017, Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy. The company initially planned to restructure and continue operating. However, it was eventually forced to close all of its stores in the United States.
Toys R Us’ stores in other countries continued to operate for a while. Eventually, the company announced that it would be closing all of its remaining stores worldwide. In 2018, Toys R Us officially went out of business.
Tru Kids Comeback
In the years since the company’s demise, there has been some interest in reviving the Toys R Us brand. A new company called Tru Kids Brands was formed in 2019 with the aim of bringing back the iconic toy retailer. Tru Kids Brands has opened a handful of stores in the United States and Canada under the Toys R Us name. Many of them are located in Macy’s Department Stores. You may also order online.
Timeline of Control
Toys R Us was owned and operated by several different companies over the course of its history.
The company was founded by Charles Lazarus in 1948, and he owned and operated the company until 1966 when he sold it to Interstate Department Stores. Interstate Department Stores then sold Toys R Us to the Canadian company, Melville Corporation, in 1978.
Melville Corporation continued to expand the Toys R Us chain, and by the 1990s, it had become a global retail giant with stores in several countries around the world. However, in 1995, Melville Corporation decided to focus on its other retail brands, and it spun off Toys R Us into a separate company.
Toys R Us became a publicly-traded company in 1996, with its shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company continued to grow and expand, but it faced increasing competition from online retailers like Amazon in the early 2000s.
In 2005, Toys R Us was acquired by a group of private equity firms, including Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and Vornado Realty Trust, in a leveraged buyout. The new owners took the company private and continued to operate it as a separate entity.
Toys R Us struggled financially in the years following the buyout, and in 2017, the company filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy led to the closure of all Toys R Us stores in the United States.
After the bankruptcy, the Toys R Us brand was acquired by the new company, Tru Kids Brands, which has opened a few stores under the Toys R Us name in the United States and Canada. However, it is unclear what the future holds for the company.
- Year Started: 1948
- Year Ended: 2017
- Origin Of Name: Descirptive
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Charles Lazarus
- Owner While In Use: Publicly Traded
- Owner Successor: Tru KIds
- Year Resurrected: 2019
- What’s Popular Today: Amazon
- Naics Code: 451120
- Location Headquarters: Paramus, New Jersey USA